Every time I talk to someone about sugar, in my head I’m singing the Archie’s song Sugar, Sugar. If you’re reading this and young, you’ll have no idea what I’m talking about. It’s an oldie but goodie for sure! As a kid we had it on a 45.
Sugar is everywhere especially if you are eating processed foods. The food manufacturers add a significant amount of salt, sugar and fat for that mouth feel we crave. It is added to just about everything and definitely difficult to avoid.
Processed sugar is devoid of fiber and nutrients and creates a quick rise in blood sugar followed by a crash. It actually steals nutrients that are stored in your bones to process and digest. This doesn’t happen when you eat complex carbohydrates because they contain fiber which slows down the processing in the body and these foods contain nutrients as well. So, your body winds up being satisfied after consumption. When we think of complex carbohydrates, think of vegetables, beans, intact whole grains and fruit. I know there are plenty of fad diets out there that say sugar is sugar but there is a huge difference between sugar and complex carbs.
When I work with clients, I teach them how to properly read labels. We are not looking at the nutrition facts, we look at the ingredients because it tells a proper story. The nutrition facts can be skewed. For instance, a nutrition facts label can read 0 sugars but there are 3 or 4 different sugars in the ingredients all by different names. If these are all .5 grams or under, they can be listed as 0. The ingredients are listed by weight, so the first ingredient is the most abundant in the food. If sugar is the first or second ingredient…put that baby back on the shelf!!
Another way the nutrition facts can look skewed, is when an item is full of dried fruit. The sugars are going to look high in the item, but it would be acceptable and a better choice because it contains fiber.
I teach my clients how to read labels so that they can utilize this when shopping and bring better foods home.
Sugar can be named many things beet sugar, cane sugar, syrup, glucose, maltose, barley malt, lactose, fruit juice concentrate, crystalline fructose, dextrose, agave, high fructose corn syrup to name a few. These are the ingredients you want to identify and try to avoid.
You also have better options to look for like maple syrup, coconut sugar, honey (raw and local), date sugar, Sucanat, Molasses
Sugar can negatively impact body especially if it’s in excess.
These are just a few ways that sugar negatively affects your body. Nothing in your body happens in a vacuum, if it affects one area it affects the whole. So start looking at labels and cleaning up your cabinets!